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Dean of the United States Senate
Patrick Leahy official photo.jpg
Incumbent
Patrick Leahy

since December 17, 2012
Member ofUnited States Senate
FormationMarch 4, 1789
First holderJames Gunn

The Dean of the United States Senate is an informal term for the senator with the longest continuous service, regardless of party affiliation. This is not an official position within the Senate, although customarily (since 1945) the longest-serving member of the majority party serves as president pro tempore.

The current dean is Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont. He has been in the Senate since 1975 and became dean in 2012 with the death in office of Daniel Inouye.

List of deans

Name Party State Years First served
James Gunn Anti-Admin,
Democratic-Republican
GA 1789–1797 1789
John Langdon Pro-Admin,
Democratic-Republican
NH
and others
James Gunn Democratic-Republican GA 1797–1801
John Langdon Democratic-Republican NH
Theodore Foster Democratic-Republican RI 1801–1803 1790
John Brown Democratic-Republican KY 1803–1805 1791
James Hillhouse Federalist CT 1805–1810 1796
Joseph Anderson Democratic-Republican TN 1810–1815 1797
John Gaillard Democratic-Republican SC 1815–1826 1804
Benjamin Ruggles Anti-Jacksonian OH 1826–1833 1815
William R. King Democratic AL 1833–1844 1819
Thomas Benton Democratic MO 1844–1851 1821
Willie Person Mangum Whig NC 1851–1853 1831, 1840
James Pearce Whig MD 1853–1862 1843
James A. Bayard Jr. Democratic DE 1862–1864 1851
Solomon Foot Republican VT
Solomon Foot Republican VT 1864–1866
Benjamin F. Wade Republican OH 1866–1869
Charles Sumner Republican MA 1869–1874
Zachariah Chandler Republican MI 1874–1875 1857
Henry B. Anthony Republican RI 1875–1884 1859
George F. Edmunds Republican VT 1884–1891 1866
Justin Smith Morrill Republican VT 1891–1898 1867
William B. Allison Republican IA 1898–1908 1873
Eugene Hale Republican ME 1908–1911 1881
William P. Frye Republican ME 1911 1881
Shelby Moore Cullom Republican IL 1911–1913 1883
Jacob Harold Gallinger Republican NH 1913–1918 1891
Henry Cabot Lodge Republican MA 1918–1924 1893
Francis E. Warren Republican WY 1924–1929 1895
Furnifold McLendel Simmons Democratic NC 1929–1931 1901
Reed Smoot Republican UT 1931–1933 1903
William Edgar Borah Republican ID 1933–1940 1907
Ellison D. Smith Democratic SC 1940–1944 1909
Kenneth McKellar Democratic TN 1944–1953 1917
Walter F. George Democratic GA 1953–1957 1922
Carl Hayden Democratic AZ 1957–1969 1927
Richard Russell Jr. Democratic GA 1969–1971 1933
Allen J. Ellender Democratic LA 1971–1972 1937
George D. Aiken Republican VT 1972–1975 1941
James Eastland Democratic MS 1975–1977 1941, 1943
John L. McClellan Democratic AR 1943
James Eastland Democratic MS 1977–1978 1941, 1943
Warren G. Magnuson Democratic WA 1978–1981 1944
John C. Stennis Democratic MS 1981–1989 1947
Strom Thurmond Republican SC 1989–2003 1954, 1956
Robert Byrd Democratic WV 2003–2010 1959
Daniel Inouye Democratic HI 2010–2012 1963
Patrick Leahy Democratic VT 2012–present 1975

Party deans

For additional information, here is a list of most senior senators by party, listed in reverse chronological order.

Democratic

Name State Years
Nathaniel Macon NC 1826–1828
Mahlon Dickerson NJ 1828–1833
William R. King AL 1833–1844
Thomas Benton MO 1844–1851
David Rice Atchison MO 1851–1855
Jesse D. Bright IN 1855–1856
James Pearce MD 1856–1862
James A. Bayard Jr. DE 1862–1864
John P. Hale NH 1864–1865
Willard Saulsbury Sr. DE 1865–1871
Garrett Davis KY 1871–1872
George Vickers MD 1872–1873
Thomas F. Bayard DE 1873–1885
Eli M. Saulsbury DE 1885–1889
Matt Whitaker Ransom NC 1889–1895
Francis Cockrell MO 1895–1905
John Tyler Morgan AL 1905–1907
William Pinkney Whyte MD 1907–1908
Henry M. Teller CO 1908–1909
John W. Daniel VA 1909–1910
Benjamin Tillman SC 1910–1918
Thomas S. Martin VA 1918–1919
Charles Allen Culberson TX 1919–1923
Furnifold McLendel Simmons NC 1923–1931
Ellison D. Smith SC 1931–1944
Kenneth McKellar TN 1944–1953
Walter F. George GA 1953–1957
Carl Hayden AZ 1957–1969
Richard Russell GA 1969–1971
Allen J. Ellender LA 1971–1972
James Eastland MS 1972–1978
Warren Magnuson WA 1978–1981
John C. Stennis MS 1981–1989
Robert Byrd WV 1989–2010
Daniel Inouye HI 2010–2012
Patrick Leahy VT 2012–present

Republican

Name State Years
William H. Seward NY 1854–1861
Solomon Foot VT 1861–1866
Benjamin Wade OH 1866–1869
Charles Sumner MA 1869–1872
Henry Wilson MA 1872–1873
Zachariah Chandler MI 1873–1875
Henry B. Anthony RI 1875–1884
George F. Edmunds VT 1884–1891
Justin Smith Morrill VT 1891–1898
William B. Allison IA 1898–1908
Eugene Hale ME 1908–1911
William P. Frye ME 1911
Shelby Moore Cullom IL 1911–1913
Jacob H. Gallinger NH 1913–1918
Henry Cabot Lodge MA 1918–1924
Francis E. Warren WY 1924–1929
Reed Smoot UT 1929–1933
William E. Borah ID 1933–1940
Hiram W. Johnson CA 1940–1945
Arthur Capper KS 1945–1949
Arthur Vandenberg MI 1949–1951
Styles Bridges NH 1951–1961
Alexander Wiley WI 1961–1963
George Aiken VT 1963–1975
Milton R. Young ND 1975–1981
Strom Thurmond SC 1981–2003
Ted Stevens AK 2003–2009
Richard Lugar IN 2009–2013
Orrin Hatch UT 2013–2019
Chuck Grassley IA 2019–present

Whig

Name State Years
Nehemiah R. Knight RI 1833–1841
Samuel Prentiss VT 1841–1842
Nathaniel P. Tallmadge NY 1842–1844
William Cabell Rives VA 1844–1845
Thomas Clayton DE 1845–1847
Samuel S. Phelps VT 1847–1851
Willie Person Mangum NC 1851–1853
James Pearce MD 1853–1856
Henry S. Geyer MO 1856–1857

National Republican

Name State Years
Benjamin Ruggles OH 1825–1833
Nehemiah R. Knight RI 1833

Democratic-Republican

Name State Years
John Langdon NH 1799–1801
John Brown KY 1801–1805
Joseph Anderson TN 1805–1815
John Gaillard SC 1815–1826

Federalist

Name State Years
James Gunn GA 1799–1801
Theodore Foster RI 1801–1803
Uriah Tracy CT 1803–1807
James Hillhouse CT 1807–1810
Timothy Pickering MA 1810–1811
James Bayard DE 1811–1813
Chauncey Goodrich CT 1813
Outerbridge Horsey DE 1813–1821
Rufus King NY 1821–1825

Pro-Administration

Name State Years
Pierce Butler SC 1789–1795
Oliver Ellsworth CT 1795–1796
James Gunn GA 1796–1799

Anti-Administration

Name State Years
Richard Bassett DE 1789–1793
John Langdon NH 1793–1795
Pierce Butler SC 1795–1796
John Langdon NH 1796–1799

See also

References